February 2015

1. The greeting I received from my baby girl when I picked her up from nursery on Monday was amazing! Open arms, big cuddle and the biggest widest open mouth snot kiss!!  It’s so cute how she kisses now. She launches herself, mouth wide open, at your face all slobbery and snotty!

2. Playing ‘snap’ with my sons aeroplane cards before bedtime one evening. A precious 10 minutes of one to one time is worth it’s weight in gold. For some reason he always has to win or gets a real strop on. I don’t let him win every time though as he has to learn he can’t win every time! I love it when we get time for just the two of us. ‘Play with me mummy!’ He says, and I make sure I do.

3. Dancing around the kitchen to Def Leopard with my boy. We’ve always danced around the kitchen ever since my boy was born. It’s mainly my husband and my boy who do crazy dancing after dinner. It’s always been an after dinner thing. I love watching them dance and love it when my boy says ‘come on mummy, dance!’.

4. Walking on the beach with my family. We met my sister in law with her children at one of the local beaches for a walk. Met looked really sunny but it was so windy on the beach, my hands were freezing. I front carried my baby girl in the boba so I could cuddle her in and keep her snug. I love watching my boy running along the sand, so care free and happy. It did us all the world of good to get out and blow the cobwebs away (literally!).

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5. Celebrating mine and my husbands anniversary with a relaxing home cooked meal and bottle of fizz. My husband surprised me this year with a personalised card, bottle if wine and flowers. It really cheered me up. He once again cooked us an amazing candlelit meal and it was lovely to have some romantic time just the two of us.

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This has been a bit more challenging this week as I’ve been so poorly again and down in the dumps. But as always my two children and hubby prevail so there’s always something happy to reflect on!

1. My husband brought me a lovely plaque for my kitchen. Itbsimply reads ‘being part of a family means you are part of something wonderful’. It really cheered me up and made me smile. Thank you hubby!!

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2. My little girl has found her giggle! My little girl hasn’t been the most giggly baby especially not compared to her brother who giggled uncontrollably all the time from a really early age. But she at last has found her giggle. It’s so lovely and so special, especially when her big brother makes her laugh. So gorgeous.

3. Baking cupcakes and making homemade pizza with my boy. We don’t get much one to one time now I’m back to work and with his little sisters demands. But we had a great time together in the kitchen. We baked wonderful White chocolate and cherry cupcakes. Not me the best bits licking the leftover mixture in the bowl and on the spoon but my son prefers eating all the topping sprinkles. So we get along just great!!

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4. My boy being off school all week on half term and enjoying lots of fun times. He’s been to the Cinema, to Woodlands (local theme park), to friends houses, swimming, a sleepover, etc. it’s been a super busy and fun packed week and I’ve got to spend lots of extra time with him!

5. Going for a lovely sunny walk with my little lady in our Boba 4g sling and I even managed to back carry on my own!! I made sure I hovered over the sofa whilst getting her in, just in case of a mishap, but I actually got her in quite easily in the end. I’d seen the videos on YouTube on how to do it but had never had the confidence to try it until now! We only went for a short walk but we really enjoyed getting out of the house in the sun and fresh air together.

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Lovely to have some baking time today with my boy, we really enjoyed creating these beauties. Very scrummy! This recipe makes about 15 cup cakes.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Plus cooling time and decorating time

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What we used:

8oz self raising flour
8oz caster sugar
8oz unsalted butter (I use Stork)
4 x eggs
A little vanilla essence
Glacier cherries (a large handful cut in halves)
White chocolate chips (a large handful)

Cupcake cases
Icing (I totally cheated and used ready made!)
Whatever you want to sprinkle on top (we used white chocolate stars and pink sugar sprinkles)
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What we did:

Preheat the oven to 180c

We used the all in one method of basically putting all the flour, sugar, butter, vanilla essence and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisking together until smooth. Then we added the cherries and white chocolate chips. Then we carefully spooned the mixture into the cup cases about half way up each case. We baked the cakes in the middle of the oven for approximately 20 minutes. I checked they were done by sticking a metal skewer down the middle of one of the cakes for a few seconds and if it was clean then they were done.

When they were baked to perfection I put them on a cooling tray for about 1/2 an hour (kept my boy entertained with something else for a bit). We decorated ours with pink ready made icing and sprinkled white chocolate stars and pink sugar sprinkles on top. Nom nom.

 

 

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Gym Bunny Mummy
Cuddle Fairy
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It was a really tough week last week. A week full of emotion, guilt and tears.

Firstly, it was my first week back at work. This has been such a difficult transition for me. My heart strings pulled as I dropped my baby girl off at nursery. As I passed her over she looked at me and reached her arms out to me. I just had to walk away, and as I did I took one last look through the glass in the door and I could see her still looking for me. Part of me so wanted to run back to her,vs coop her up and just take her home. But I got to work all be it a it wobbly and managed the day without even calling the nursery once. Strangely it felt a bit like I had never been away and I just slotted right back in. But in another way it felt so wrong.

When I got home my boy was so overjoyed to see me and his sister. We were all together again under one roof. My hubby confessed he had forgotten to attend my boys school dance performance in the afternoon. Despite me putting it on the calendar and saying to him under no circumstances should he miss it as I couldn’t be there and I did not want my boy to be the only child without a parent there. But he was. ‘ I waited for you, but you never came’ he said to me. It broke my heart. I had tears in my eyes all through dinner. I was cross with my hubby but more upset than angry. I felt so guilty that I had been at work and missed his performance. The thought of him looking out for us and nether of us arriving broke my heart. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that.

That same day I tried breastfeeding my baby girl before bed despite previous refusals. But she refused to feed from me once again. It was the last straw and I couldn’t cope. I literally broke down in tears, full on from the soul crying. I sobbed my heart out, crying myself to sleep. I felt like such a failure as a mummy. For being at work and not with my kids, for missing my boys school performance and for the breastfeeding finishing.

On the back of this I wrote my second ‘weekly happy list’ to help me think of all the happy moments, of which there were many, that happened last week too.

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1. Taking both my children swimming and it being a success. My boy said ‘what a lovely time swimming mummy, I love swimming with you’. It melted my heart. He was such a good boy. Very patient when he had to wait wrapped up in his towel whilst I dried and dressed his sister. Such a little star. He got a reward sticker on his chart that day!

2. My baby girls christening. We had such a lovely day with friends and family celebrating my baby girl. Despite being so disorganised due to illness the week leading up to the christening, it all went really well. I’m a bit sad it’s over really.

3. Returning home that first day back to work and my little boy running in to my arms and giving me a big hug and kiss. ‘Mummy!!’ He shouted as I got out the car and ran to me giving me such a big loving hug. ‘I missed you!’ He said. I missed him too.

4. The little ones having a bath together and my boy tickling my baby girls toes and making her giggle. I love watching them together. No one can make my baby girl laugh and smile as much as my boy.

5. Having a romantic valentines meal and evening with my hubby. Why don’t we do that more? It was so lovely cooking for just us and relaxing together. No telly, no iPad!

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So my baby decided to stop breastfeeding. Hang on a minute, aren’t I supposed to be the one to wean her off breastfeeding? But no, overnight, just like that, after all that hard work, my baby girl decides it’s over. At 9 1/2 months old. This is not what I expected at all. We’re currently in day 8 of refusal to breastfeed. I have heard some people refer to it as a ‘strike’ which is common at this age. I can keep offering a breastfeed, she may one day decide she hadn’t finished after all. But the upset of her crying and struggling to get away from me and my breasts is too much. Tonight she yet again refused and got all upset. I thought I would offer her an ‘alternative’ drink. And what does she do? She cuddles in to me and gulps the whole thing down. How insulting. She’s just rubbing salt in the wound really. For some reason I was expecting this monumental last breastfeed at about 12 months and my baby girl complaining because she would still want to continue. But no. She has decided it’s now and I reckon we’ve had our last ever breastfeed.  I’ve tried expressing some milk to keep it coming but it’s starting to go.

I didn’t breastfeed my first, well, only for the first couple of weeks. Then he went on to formula milk. Despite all the support, my breasts still became too damaged and I had to call it a day. I dreaded him coming to me and dreaded him feeding. I remember crying my heart out over it. I specifically remember lying in the bath and realising my milk had gone and I cried so hard my heart broke. It was pretty much the same second time round, we had those moments of ‘oh god please let this end’. Why is something so natural so damn hard? And so damn painful? I just don’t get it. But for some reason, this time, I managed it and was able to breastfeed right up to now, which is 9 1/2 months. A little bit shorter than I planned for, but I’m proud non the less. We did it, and it feels amazing.

I partly blamed the fact I’d had an emergency c section first time, for our breastfeeding failure. Despite having skin to skin when my boy was born, I ended up having a general anaesthetic afterwards and missed the first hour of his life.  I was adiment this time would be different.  We had a planned c section with my little girl and as soon as she came out I had skin to skin and I kept her there for ages.  She was was feeding from me within half an hour and my hubby virtually had to beg me for a hold.  I missed out big time last time and I did not want to let my baby girl go.  I had spent hours researching how to improve the success of breastfeeding after a c section as I wanted to be more prepared this time.  I read the more skin to skin time you have the better.  So this is what I made sure we did.

That first breast feed is so amazing. Your so caught up in that moment of wonder, your new baby in your arms, adrenaline pumping, you don’t even notice if it’s hurting.  You just want to cradle and feed your new baby. I remember it wasn’t until after the first breastfeeding all nighter, I realised the pain. Surely this level of demand can’t continue, I remember thinking to myself. But several nights later it was still the same. Basically every 1-2 hours 24 hours a day. My poor boobs. It’s a shock. I remember going through it the first time and second time round it was no easier. I don’t know what was different this time as I somehow kept going, but something made me succeed this time.

I remember feeling like I needed constant reassurance, mainly from the midwives and health visitors. I cried my heart out one day when the Health Visitor had called but I hadn’t heard the door, so I missed her. Devastated was an understatement. I couldn’t cope without constant support. I was so paranoid the latch or position was wrong it was almost obsessive. I did not want to fail this time. I needed all the help I could get. In week 5 I had realised I had been in a lot of pain for a long time. I had noticed the pain was not just at the time of feeding but continued after feeds. Also the pain was not just in my boobs, it was in my whole back. I also had a strange rash round one of my nipples. I knew something wasn’t right. I’m sure my latch is wrong, I thought. That week I decided to go to the breastfeeding support group and it was the best thing I could have done.

I was so nervous that first time I walked into the breast feeding support group. My baby girl was only a few weeks old and I was still unsure about what I was doing. Despite the fact she was my second. I had got a lift from my mum as I still wasn’t driving after my c section. I sat there nervously for a while and eventually mustered up the courage to ask one of the support workers to check my latch. The lady watched my baby girl feed and listened to me describe the symptoms I had been experiencing. Straight away she suggested I might have thrush. I had never heard of that before, well not as a result of breastfeeding. One of the health visitors checked and confirmed they thought it was thrush. I was recommended a treatment and brought it and started it that same day. I never looked back. After a few days the pain was gone. Why had I put up with it for so long? I should never have doubted myself. My baby girl was latching on perfectly, but I had been convinced that’s what it was. How wrong I was. I wish I’d listened to my instincts that something wasn’t right.

The wonders of breastfeeding are endless. The first weeks are the hardest, but they go quick. It doesn’t feel like it at the time, it feels like an endless battle. As well as the pain and relentless demand, I felt significant guilt. For my boy who every time he saw me I had his new sister attached to me like a limpet. I literally could not do anything with my boy and I could see the sadness and resentment in him. He changed and seemed distant. I felt awful. Sometimes I just wanted to get away from my baby girl and just escape for a short while with my boy. What had I done to him? I wondered so many times whether to give up and start using formula.  Breastfeedings a commitment not just for your body, but an all consuming time commitment too. I’m glad I persevered. My boy loves his sister so much. I see that every day. So I don’t think he’s effected by those first few weeks. It has passed now and we have all pulled through.

There’s nothing like breastfeeding your baby and gazing into each other’s eyes. If I’d known she was going to decide to stop breastfeeding, I would have cherished that last feed a little more. I would have let her feed for a bit longer. I would have held her a little longer. I remember stroking her hair and looking into her eyes and she was looking in to mine. We felt complete as one. I will never forget the closeness I felt. I miss it and crave it but know it is over and another chapter in our lives has begun.

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Thanks youbabymemummy this is a great idea to capture all those happy moments.  There’s always more than you realise too!

1. My son getting ‘child of the week’ at school for his efforts and concentration when learning his reading and writing. I am sooooo amazed at this, as normally his concentration is zero. Very proud mummy tonight when he came home from school. His certificate is proudly placed on the fridge door of course!

2. My baby girl learning to say ‘uh oh’. Her daddy has taught her to say ‘uh oh’ this week. So funny, she’s started saying it all the time now. I think because she gets a reaction from us, which of course she loves.

3. My baby girl learning how to high five! This was from me today. She held up her little hand whilst she was having her snack this afternoon. So I held mine up and gave hers a little tap and said ‘high five!’. Now she keeps putting up her hand as she thinks it’s really funny. So cute. Great to feel up to playing with her today after feeling so poorly this week.

4. The christening outfits arriving for my boy and baby girl (gorgeous). My baby girl is getting christened this weekend. So we already had the dress for my baby girl, but the cardigan arrived today and it’s absolutely perfect! My boys shirt and trousers arrived too and were just what I was after. He is going to look so grown up in his smart shirt. Bless him. Just need to sort mine out now! That will be a job for the night before no doubt!

5. My son getting ‘star of the day’ at school for good writing. Another school award, earlier this week. He’s on a roll after a bit of a dry spell. He must have worked very hard this week. I am super proud of him. Be really is coming on leaps and bounds.

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So after a week in bed with flu, this morning I really fancied something super healthy and fresh to get my body going. So I made myself my Feel Good Super Fruit Smoothie. Something I’ve started to make in the mornings before I start the day. This one is super immune boosting too with all that loveliness from the kiwi and berries.

I have just invested in a smoothie maker which I have to say is great and well worth the buy. The one I got was about £20 from Amazon and is the Kenwood Smoothie 2go system. Perfect for my needs as someone who likes a fruit smoothie in the mornings fast and fuss free.

Preparation Time: literally a couple of minutes
Cooking time: zero! Just blitz!

What I used:

1 x banana
1 x Apple
1 x kiwi
Handful of frozen raspberries
Handful of frozen blueberries

I use frozen berries because there cheaper and last longer, great if you have regular smoothies and are on more of a budget. One box each of raspberries and blueberries, at a cost of £2 each from Tescos, will last me a couple of weeks worth of daily smoothies.

What I did:

Cut the banana into slices, peeled & cored the apple and cut this in to slices, peeled the kiwi and cut in to slices – popped this all in the smoothie maker. Then I added a small handful of frozen raspberries and frozen blueberries and added a tiny bit of water. Then blitzed for a minute – done!

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Thank you so much to www.twinmummyyummy.co.uk for nominating me for a Liebster award. Needless to say I was just an ickle bit excited!! I had heard of this but was completely thrown as to what it actually meant, what the exact rules were, etc. so I read twinmummyyummy’s Liebster award first to check out what I needed to do, but also to read the answers to all her questions following her nominations (I believe she had 3!). It’s taken me a couple of days to get round to doing mine and it’s actually harder than you think!

The rules to the Liebster Award are:

1. Acknowledge the blog that has nominated you and display the Liebster Award on your blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award, with less than 200 Twitter followers or who haven’t received a Liebster Award before.
5. Let those bloggers know they have been nominated.
6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

So, here goes, these are my answers to twinmummyyummy’s questions:

1. What is the most adventurous thing I’ve done?
There’s probably more than one. Not because I’m uber adventurous or extreme (!) but because there’s a few of the same level of my adventurousness! The one that I enjoyed the most is the one that springs to mind. So the most adventurous thing I think I’ve done is ski down a black slope in France. This was only my third time skiing so I think it’s quite a feat. I found the experience both terrifying and exhilarating. I had a completely no fear moment as I launched myself off the top of the slope. So I guess this warrants it as ‘adventurous’.

2. Where is the most beautiful place you have been?
This is easy. The Maldives. My husband and I went to the island of Filitheyo for our honeymoon and it is the most beautiful place I have seen. It really is just like how it looks in the pictures. Powdery white sand and turquoise water. The island we stayed on had its own coral reef so the tropical fish were in abundance. When I’m feeling down this is my happy place.

3. If you could do one thing tomorrow that you have always dreamed of doing, what would it be?
This is a hard one, so I had to think a bit about my answer. I think I would somehow get myself and my hubby to that Maldivian island again, on the beach, barefoot, to renew our vows. Hopefully this is something we will do one day.

4. If you won a car, what would you do with it?
Simple, I would keep it. I hire a car through work so I would give that one back and save myself some pennies!  I realise I haven’t considered it might not be a very good car but I’m assuming it would be!

5. What is your favourite drink?
This is easy, Gin and Tonic.
(I also like sparkling wine and of course some non alcoholic drinks too!)

6. Who is the first person you go to in your times of need?
Has to be my husband for most things. I do keep a lot to myself so probably don’t turn to him enough though.

7. What is the one goal you have not yet met, but are working to achieve?
Okay, either to be a SAHM (stay at home mum), have a job that enables me to work from home or work my butt off to achieve mine and my husbands dream to live on a small holding! Sorry I’m crap at sticking to just one!

8. Do you think you’ll move house again?
Yes definitely! We have a lovely family home but it’s not somewhere I see myself or my family long term. It was always supposed to be our first step on the ladder, something to do up, sell and move, even though we’re still here 7 years later! We’re hoping to have an extension this year to increase our downstairs space as we only have one reception room which is on the small side and it gets pretty cramped with two children. Then after a few years fingers crossed well look for something that’s the next step up for us and our family.

9. If you only had time to save one thing in your home, what would it be?
Well obviously after my family and pets!!?? It would have to be our box of memory cards of all our photos of the children, our wedding, etc. older pictures that are printed are in a heavy suitcase so would take more effort. If I had time I would save these too but if I had to prioritise it would be the memory cards.

10. In your life what brings you the most happiness?
My children. They give me purpose and motivation. They make me prouder than anything else I’ve ever achieved. They make me happy every day.

11. Where is your happy place?
Answered in question 2 I guess. The Maldives is my happy place. Although my happiest place where I can realistically (!) is either at home with my husband and children or The Lizard in Cornwall (such happy memories there with my husband).

My 11 random facts about me:

1. I used to be able to play the piano and flute

2. I used to sing and dance in pantomimes as a young lass

3. I wanted to be a Copywriter or novelist when I was at school

4. I met my husband when I was 16 but didn’t get married to him until I was 30

5. IF I could afford to I would have more children and be a SAHM

6. I wear glasses and have done since I was 6 months old! and had several eye operations as a young child

7. I suffer from PND (post natal depression)

8. I love photography and am always snap happy behind the camera. I could probably do this for a living.

9. I have just started to train for a 10k run, hoping to complete a half marathon in a year or two.

10. I suffer from severe asthma

11. My favourite hobbies are keeping fit, baking and knitting (wish I could crochet too).  In my dreams my favourite hobbies are horse riding and skiing!!

My 11 questions To the bloggers I nominate are:

1. Why did you start writing your blog? And what inspires you to write?

2. What is your first childhood memory?

3. If you could do one job for a day, what would it be?

4. if you could have one super power for a day what would it be and why?

5. If you had to be an animal what would it be and why?

6. What’s the best thing about being you?

7. What is your favourite blog and why?

8. If you were stranded on a desert island what one item would you take with you? (Can’t be family!)

9. When are you at your most relaxed?

10. How would you best friend describe you?

11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I now nominate:

theperfectjuggler

Verymuchsoblog

Runjumpscrap

HausFrau

Chlosephine

 

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This will only be relevant to complete blogging beginners!!

Thank you to Rachel from WordPress Help for helping me with this. I had spent 2 days (almost solid) trying to figure out how I could separate my posts into specific topics, so readers didn’t have to scroll through all my posts to find what they wanted. I spent hours googling for help, reading WordPress forums, YouTube videos, etc. to no avail. I got so frustrated I wanted to give up! However after tweeting the WordPress team I got an almost immediate response and the help I was after!

The mistake I’d made is that I was trying to create a new menu to enable me to separate out posts under specific topics. What you actually need to do is create a category and add this category to your menu NOT create a new menu. Once you know how it’s so simple.

My specific example was that I wanted to create a food link at the top of my page so all my recipes were easy to find together in one place rather than in ‘my posts’ section which held all of my posts (not just food).

Here’s how you do it:

1. Ensure one of the categories assigned to the posts you want to show are what you want to name your link. I’m calling it a link not a menu so as not to confuse! For example I made sure all my recipes were categorised as ‘food’ as I wanted my link to be called ‘food’.
2. In your WordPress dashboard go to ‘appearance’ and then ‘menus’.
3. On the left you will see ‘categories’ click on the arrow on the right of this to open.
4. Find the category you want e.g food and click in the box to select it.  Then click ‘add to menu’.
5. Finally click in the box ‘primary menu’ at the bottom of the page and then click ‘save menu’.

Once you’ve done this all posts you have assigned the relevant category e.g food will appear in the link on your blog e.g food.

Once you’ve done it once you will see it’s quite simple, as I did. Wish I’d contacted WordPress before as I’d wasted to much time researching it myself. I know where to go in future!

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